End of an Age

 

"Time, events, or the unaided individual action of the mind will sometimes
undermine or destroy an opinion, without any outward sign of change.
It has not been openly assailed, no conspiracy has been formed to make war on it,
but its followers one by one noiselessly secede; day by day a few of them abandon it,
until at last it is only professed by a minority. In this state it will still continue to prevail.
As its enemies remain mute or only interchange their thoughts by stealth,
they are themselves unaware for a long period that a great revolution
has actually been effected; and in this state of uncertainty
they take no steps; they observe one another and are silent.
The majority have ceased to believe what they believed before,
but they still affect to believe, and this empty phantom of public opinion
is strong enough to chill innovators and to keep them silent
and at a respectful distance."

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1863)

 

“Our closing age – dominated by the West and characterized by an obsession with democracy and nationalism – started sometime around the end of the Great War in 1918. In fact, it was an age that emerged from Exit as hordes of Europeans continued their departure for America in search of prosperity and freedom. But it was an age predominantly captured by Voice, or the Revolt of the Masses.” (p.30)

“Following its final boost in 1989, this age is now approaching its end. The emphasis is back on the individual and one’s personal rather than collective choices. Voice or Democracy will play a less prominent role in the mindset and self-identity of the new emerging age…More importantly, the new age is no longer dominated by the West and Western values.” (p.30)

“The new age is about pragmatism and will be primarily concerned with personal self-fulfillment, private wealth creation and spirituality – indifferent to location, the brand of the governance system or any particular religion. The fault line is neither between countries nor East-West or North-South but runs straight through each society – pitting those fearful of change as well as deprived of means and self-confidence against those that embrace the opportunities the world has to offer and if need be by moving abroad, Exit.” (p.30)

“Little, if any, Loyalty is likely to be left for an ending age that, in its closing chapter, starts questioning the blind faith in democracy and dismantles misleading concepts such as Clash of Civilizations and A Flat World. The West is challenged to re-define its identity.” (p.30)